What is the definition of Steampunk?

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What is the definition of Steampunk?

Postby Cyberpawz » Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:38 pm

I need to ask this, because I remember when Steampunk wasn't... I remember reading a little Steampunk writings, I remember playing games on the computer that in theory idealized the Steampunk concept. Same with the Fable series... Steamboy anyone? That being said, what is the definition of Steampunk, what makes something Steampunk?

I only ask, because I've got myself into a quandary, I do a lot of things myself, I make my own clothes in some cases, I tear apart old clothes, and make new ones out of them, especially jackets. I'm nearly 40, and I still don't need glasses, which seems to be the ideal Steampunk moniker. Multiple lenses attached to a pair of glasses, in where each one does a specific thing, etc... Others are where guns or weapons use gear to do things, steam to produce the same affect as gas, etc.

I remember reading that Steampunk is a variant of the Industrial age that instead of going towards steam power instead of how we went, is that really it? One technology deviation and we would be looking at still postal mail with flying steam powered vehicles instead of gas? I really can't imagine that is it...

So I ask in all honesty, what is Steampunk?
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Re: What is the definition of Steampunk?

Postby GammaGirl » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:52 pm

How long is a piece of string? I find that trying to pin a genre down leads to stagnation of that genre. It is best to be an inclusionist and let Steampunk grow and evolve.
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Re: What is the definition of Steampunk?

Postby Mark N » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:12 pm

GammaGirl wrote:How long is a piece of string? I find that trying to pin a genre down leads to stagnation of that genre. It is best to be an inclusionist and let Steampunk grow and evolve.



Nice way to see it. I have been thinking about this for many years and realized that Steampunk is a living thing, always growing and changing.

But to understand it I found this from Artiste Gullible It sort of gives a genesis to the basic Steampunk universe (Basic because there are many ideas for Steam Punk worlds. If one really takes the time to think about it Jules Verne may be considered one of the true creators of the genre) (But that is just my opinion of course).
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Re: What is the definition of Steampunk?

Postby MerchManDan » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:16 am

I've heard Steampunk described as, "What if the future happened in the past?"
Which probably boils it down a bit too much to be satisfying (particularly for Marigold's dad). ;)
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Re: What is the definition of Steampunk?

Postby Julie » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:27 am

MerchManDan wrote:I've heard Steampunk described as, "What if the future happened in the past?"
Which probably boils it down a bit too much to be satisfying (particularly for Marigold's dad). ;)

I think that's actually a very satisfying answer. It seems to encompass the feel of most steamppunk stories and worlds I've seen as of yet while still leaving a lot of room for iterpretation and evolution in the genre.
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Re: What is the definition of Steampunk?

Postby NOTDilbert » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:23 pm

Anyone else ever hear of the Forgotten Futures role-playing game? (Darn it, can't find the website!) A game based on several turn-of-the-last-century science fiction stories. The author was selling it via PDF's on disk - it came with a huge library of Verne-ish, WOTW-like fiction.......
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Re: What is the definition of Steampunk?

Postby Cyberpawz » Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:35 pm

The only reason I ask is because people tend to take a near comical view of it in many cases. Put a gear on something and call it Steampunk.

I've created things that could be considered Steampunk, but not at the same time because of the lack of real definition.

I don't own a watch, I own several pocket watches that wind up the old fashion way, I have created coats from older coats that have seen better days, adorn them with things that I used to use on a daily basis. Glasses I've designed myself which can double as welding glasses, sun glasses, and magnifying glasses all dependent of the lens that is in the glass case at the time.

I've designed several other things that I'd have in the jacket, none using "modern" technology... yet all of these things wouldn't be considered Steampunk by your definition or lack there of here.
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Re: What is the definition of Steampunk?

Postby alj_ws » Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:17 pm

I tend to find the term used by the Foglios (GirlGenius) and others much more adequate and descriptive :

Gaslamp fantasy

Describe quite well the tech level and even the quite unrealistic part in it.

The fantasy part is important, novels or comics at this tech level in a realistic setting are not steampunk
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Re: What is the definition of Steampunk?

Postby ziggy78eog » Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:26 pm

Basically, Steampunk is an alternative version of the Victorian time period, roughly mid to late 19th Century. One of the main tenants of Steampunk is the pace of advancement of technology; the Steampunk era is decades, if not a century or so ahead of the actual Victorian Era, in terms of technology. This is done either by pushing the envelope in steam technology (hence the name), or by the discovery of some radically new power source. For some references, try looking up...
- Wild Wild West
- Adventures of Brisco County Jr
- Jules Verne
- Girl Genius
- Nadia: Secret of Blue Water
- League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
- Deadlands RPG
That should give you some indication.
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Re: What is the definition of Steampunk?

Postby meli71 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:37 am

Cyberpawz wrote:I need to ask this, because I remember when Steampunk wasn't... I remember reading a little Steampunk writings, I remember playing games on the computer that in theory idealized the Steampunk concept. Same with the Fable series... Steamboy anyone? That being said, what is the definition of Steampunk, what makes something Steampunk?

I only ask, because I've got myself into a quandary, I do a lot of things myself, I make my own clothes in some cases, I tear apart old clothes, and make new ones out of them, especially jackets. I'm nearly 40, and I still don't need glasses, which seems to be the ideal Steampunk moniker. Multiple lenses attached to a pair of glasses, in where each one does a specific thing, etc... Others are where guns or weapons use gear to do things, steam to produce the same affect as gas, etc.

I remember reading that Steampunk is a variant of the Industrial age that instead of going towards steam power instead of how we went, is that really it? One technology deviation and we would be looking at still postal mail with flying steam powered vehicles instead of gas? I really can't imagine that is it...

So I ask in all honesty, what is Steampunk?


Hello,

i have read some of your comments below, but i have one question, as i am not too familiar with the genre :Another setting is "Western" steampunk, which overlaps with both the Weird West and Science fiction Western subgenres. Do anyone have any details about this particular genre ?

thanks
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Re: What is the definition of Steampunk?

Postby Atomic » Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:56 am

No expert I on genere or style, but to me, I'd look at Steampunk being Modern Victoriana. Consider the James Bond movie "Goldfinger." That was the one that really got the series going. The previous one, "Dr. No," set the stage with the players and environment: MI6, License to Kill, gadgets galore, Spy personna, and megalomaniac Bad Guys. "Goldfinger" put it all in motion with a much more enjoyable/credible presentation.

Now take all that and set the Wabac Machine to the 1890s and you get the TV series Wild Wild West. But - focus on steam power, clockwork mechanisms, add robots, zepplins (developed in 1895, so of the era), and bizarre electrical contrivances -- Steampunk!

But in all the variety possible, the characters maintain the Victorian era mindset and sociability. Try reading Girl Genius for a solid example of the genre.
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Re: What is the definition of Steampunk?

Postby Cyberpawz » Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:38 am

Atomic wrote:No expert I on genere or style, but to me, I'd look at Steampunk being Modern Victoriana. Consider the James Bond movie "Goldfinger." That was the one that really got the series going. The previous one, "Dr. No," set the stage with the players and environment: MI6, License to Kill, gadgets galore, Spy personna, and megalomaniac Bad Guys. "Goldfinger" put it all in motion with a much more enjoyable/credible presentation.

Now take all that and set the Wabac Machine to the 1890s and you get the TV series Wild Wild West. But - focus on steam power, clockwork mechanisms, add robots, zepplins (developed in 1895, so of the era), and bizarre electrical contrivances -- Steampunk!

But in all the variety possible, the characters maintain the Victorian era mindset and sociability. Try reading Girl Genius for a solid example of the genre.


Even Girl Genius isn't true steam punk, it takes a page or two from it, but it has gone off in other directions that steam punk couldn't be used as a definition. At least since I've been reading since the beginning.
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Re: What is the definition of Steampunk?

Postby jwhouk » Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:39 am

All you need to know (and what I first thought of when the subject came up).
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